No need to invite Reyes’ family in Senate inquiry – Estrada

February 10, 2011 11:52 am 

MANILA, Feb. 9 -– Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said on Wednesday that there is no need to invite the wife and children of the late former National Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes in the next Senate inquiry on the alleged top-level corruption in the military.

”There’s no need for that,” Estrada said, referring to the opinion of fellow Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that Reyes’ wife Teresita and children can be summoned following the death of Reyes at the height of congressional inquiries into his involvement in the alleged irregularities in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

”Senator Miriam has her own opinion. But me, I think there is no need for that,” Estrada said.

Estrada said that, for the meantime, he would restrain from giving any statement about Reyes during the time of mourning of the bereaved family of the former AFP chief of staff who has been accused of receiving millions of pesos in ‘pabaon’ or send-off money.

”I’m practicing to gag my first self because I don’t want to speak while the family of Secretary Reyes is still in a period of mourning,” Estrada said.

Estrada said he is in favor of holding an executive session if it would convince former military comptrollers Carlos Garcia and Jacinto Ligot to answer questions of the senators regarding the alleged corruption.

”Because Generals Garcia and Ligot said they might incriminate themselves, we’ll give them a chance to say everything in an executive session,” Estrada said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile felt there is no need to hold an executive session “unless it is a matter of national security.”

”We’ll meet again but I told them to find out what we can do here in an executive session and what we should not,” Enrile said.

Senator Gregorio Honasan, who inhibited himself from the Senate probe because Garcia was his mistah at the Philippine Military Academy, said he would favor the executive session if it is the consensus of the senators.

Estrada, who presented former military budget officer retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa in the Senate inquiry, said he prefers to wrap up the Senate inquiry on plea bargaining agreement between Garcia and state prosecutors next week.

”I want to finish all of these things. I mean, about the committee report and bills to reform the budget system in the AFP. It’s up to the Ombudsman and the justice department to prosecute,” Estrada said.

Rabusa testified in the previous Senate hearings that Garcia and Ligot knew about the send-off money to the retired generals, including Reyes, who allegedly received P50 million pabaon when he retired in 2001.

Reyes reportedly killed himself using a .45 caliber in front his mother’s tomb at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City last Tuesday morning.

Senators Santiago and Francis Escudero said all the civil or criminal liabilities of Reyes are extinguished. (PNA)

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